“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
– I John 3:16-17 NIV
Oftentimes you will hear people say that if you wanted to understand the meaning of something in the dictionary, when you turn to the page you were seeking you would find the picture of someone’s face instead of words and by seeing their face you would know what that word meant. Being an artist myself, I would like to think that when you open the dictionary to look up the word creative you would find a photograph of me with one of my masterpieces hanging behind me in the National Gallery of Art as part of their permanent collection!
When someone opens the dictionary to better understand the meaning of a word, where would they find your picture? Let me guess, awesome right? John, one of the twelve disciples that spent 3 years following Jesus closely and serving with Him in ministry, writes for us his interpretation of Jesus in his letter titled I John. In I John 3:16, we see John using Jesus to help us understand what love is and identifies how love is defined by what Jesus did. Jesus demonstrated love by laying down His life for us. The love that Jesus has for us is demonstrated by His actions. It was God’s plan for Jesus to lay down His life for us, so the act of love demonstrated by Jesus was inspired by God.
God so loved us that He had His Son die for us. God’s love for us was demonstrated by His act of allowing His Son to die for us. In fact I John 4:7-8 tells us that love comes from God because God is love. Jesus loved His Father so much that He was willing to die for us. Jesus, the Son of God, was willing to model what His Father represented, stood for and practiced through sacrificing His Son for us. Colossians 1:15 refers to Jesus as the image of the invisible God and in Hebrews 1:3 the bible says that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. So if I looked up God and love in the dictionary, according to the bible, I would see Jesus on the cross, because according to John, Colossians and Hebrews Jesus is the image, or representation of God in the earth, and His death on the cross demonstrates God’s love, whom the bible says is love.
Do your actions, daily, reflect God’s image of Jesus Christ and His standard of love modeled by Christ’s death on the cross? Pray to God and ask Him to help you sincerely seek to be an imitator of Him and live a life of love so when others want to know what love is they can read your life.
May God bless you and help you to grow in being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ so others may come to know and rely on God’s love expressed in Christ through you.